The first volume of the Camden House History of German Literature sets the scene for the development of writing in German by taking a very broad view of aspects of the early Germanic past, drawing on a wide range of disciplines including archaeology, anthropology, and philology, before moving into the area of literary history proper. The first part considers the whole concept of Germanic antiquity and the way in which it has been approached, examines classical writings about Germanic origins and the earliest Germanic tribes, and then looks at the two great influences on the early Germanic world. The first of these was the confrontation with the Roman Empire (including a consideration of the impact of the famous and now definitely located defeat of the legions by Hermann); the second was the displacement of Germanic religion by Christianity. The gods and religious practices of pre-Christian German are examined under this heading. A chapter on orality -- the earliest stage of all literature -- provides a bridge to the earliest Germanic writings. The second part of the book is devoted to written Germanic -- rather than German -- materials. Thus a series of chapters looksfirst at the Runic inscriptions, then at Gothic, the first Germanic language to find its way onto parchment through the achievement of the Visigoth bishop Ulfilas and his Bible translation. After this, the topic turns finally to what we now understand as literature, with general surveys of the three great areas of early Germanic literature: Old Norse, Old English, and Old High and Low German (the presentation of Old High German literature is developed in detail, of course, in the second volume of this literary history). A final chapter is devoted to the Old Saxon Heliand, important as a cultural and literary document, but all too often neglected in studies of German literature, although it was very much part of the literature of Germany in its time.
Issue: до 2011-01
Includes bibliographical references and index
The concept of Germanic antiquity / Heinrich Beck -- Origo gentis: The literature of German Origins / Herwig Wolfram -- Germania Romana / Adrian Murdoch -- Germanic religion and the conversion to Christianity / Rudolf Simek -- Orality / R. Graeme Dunphy -- Runic / Klaus Düwel -- Gothic / Brian Murdoch -- Old Norse-Icelandic literature / Theodor Andersson -- Old English / Fred C. Robinson -- Old High German and continental Old Low German / Brian Murdoch -- The Old Saxon Heliand / G. Ronald Murphy